All that stuff hanging off the stern-- Gel batteries, solar panels and inverter - an experience
Eric Freedman <kimberlite@...>
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I have waited years to voice my opinion.
I have seen many Amels with fabulous solar panel arrays.
I really admire them.
However, in my experience they pose a HAZARD to the boat.
I think it was 2010 and we were in a hurricane for 36 hours in 60-foot seas in 100 knots of wind.
Without fail the boat would be totally submerged by breaking waves to the point that we would have to hold our breath till the water subsided . The first thing I recall seeing were just the masts sticking out of the water with no boat visible. Then the rest of the rest of Kimberlite would pop up. I thought that was cool. This happened 15-20 times during this ordeal.
It takes about 20 seconds for the boat to pop up.
I have always envisioned having an arch causing 4 large holes in the stern deck where the solar panels and the arch were torn out of the hull.
Just My opinion.
Here is the article if you are interested.
Kimberlite Amel Super Maramu #376
From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io On Behalf Of David Crisp
A lot of really helpful information has been written and shared about converting to lithium batteries and the benefits thereof (thank you all). Compared to my experience 20 years ago, when I lived aboard my SM for 3 years, lithium batteries with a large inverter and solar panels sounds like paradise. In 2019 I was on the verge of going this route but delays caused by the Covid pandemic caused me to follow a compromise route and to drop the lithium battery element.
My route has been to replace the old Dolphin 100A charger with a Victron 24V/3000/70A Multiplus inverter/charger along with 990W of solar panels (three LG Neon2Black (LG330N1K-V5)) managed by a Victron Smart Solar MPPT 100/50. A Victron VE Smart Bus provides voltage and temperature data to the MPPT. I also replaced the old battery monitor with a Victron BMV-712. The solar panels are mounted above some Simpson electric davits I had installed at the same time. This year the batteries that came with Wilna Grace gave up the ghost and I replaced them with Victron Gel 110AH instead of going over to Lithium.
My cruising plans are to remain in and explore the Mediterranean, spending ~6+months aboard each year. Consequently my demands, and the cost vs. benefit analysis, are perhaps not those of a live aboard round-the-world cruiser.
I’m hopeful that with such shallow cycling the Gel batteries should last 6+ years, not as good a Lithium but not bad. I’ve only had one season’s experience with this setup, but at the moment the only reason I would change to lithium would be to run an induction stove or to run an air conditioner. I’m not ruling out lithium, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind about the benefits; should my cruising plans/needs change I will install lithium in the blink of an eye.
For someone on a limited budget and with my type of cruising profile I would prioritise the key elements in the following order: (1) large solar array. (2) large inverter. (3) lithium batteries.
Attached are some photos of the installation on Wilna Grace and drawings of the solar panel array. From this installation I have had two learnings: -
We had two other mini-projects this year which have also delivered big benefits.
Hope it is helpful.